Friday, 6 May 2011

30 Day Poetry Challenge - Days 7 to 9

Day 7: A poem that reminds you of a certain event

My middle two children were diagnosed with severe autism aged 4 and 3. I tried to accept this but my intuition was in revolt even as they rampaged through life. Then, one afternoon, Jenny gave me a kiss. Two days later I came across ‘Rondeau’ by Leigh Hunt. Google it and you’ll learn that i
t was written in honour of Jane, wife of Thomas Carlyle, but that’s bollocks – it’s about my girl.

Day 8: A poem you know by heart

Necessarily short, then!

Odi et amo. quare id faciam, fortasse requiris?nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.

And my own loose translation:

'I hate and I love. How can that be? You might well ask.
I don’t know, but I bear the brunt of it, and I am in torment.'

'Without Catullus there would be no pop music.' Discuss.

Day 9: A poem you'd read in bed to your lover

'Kubla Khan' by Coleridge

Incense and moonlight; a holy and enchanted bed; my gilt-embossed, lightly foxed and slightly musty edition of Coleridge; and someone with whom to trace sinuous rills and the meanderings of that sacred River Alph from its rising to its delta … ah, fountains, honey dew, milk of paradise … turn the page … damn that Person from Porlock!

(Couldn't find a suitably purry rendition; here's an interesting one instead from Julien 
Temple's entertaining (if somewhat inventive) film, Pandaemonium.)


  1. Interesting to read Catullus sandwiched between Hunt and Coleridge. My memory is usually even shorter---"Odi et amo..." That one and 'Jenny kissed me' are good practice. While refreshing my memory of Stevie Smith's 'Thoughts about the Person from Porlock', I happened on poet Tom Clark's great blogspot:
    which this February featured Smith's poem and 'Jenny kissed me' almost back to back, with interesting comments and the beautiful photos and reproductions which are usual there. Check it out!